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Why Results-Oriented B2B Marketers Question Events

As a B2B marketer, the odds are pretty high that events and tradeshows account for a fairly sizable portion of your marketing budget. And event planning and management most likely consumes a large chunk of your team’s time and attention as well.

So at some point…probably during the setup fiasco at your last trade event…you’ve probably wondered whether it’s really all worth it, right?

Well, you’re not alone. While the marketing trades are full of helpful tips and suggestions for “maximizing event ROI” and “getting the most from trade events,” a lot of B2B marketers are actually questioning the whole endeavor.

They aren’t just asking, “How do I get more out of these events?” No, they’re asking a much more powerful question: “Is our time and money better spent somewhere else?”

In a Playbook interview, Liz McClellan, CMO of North Plains Systems, shared some of her perspectives on events and tradeshows:

As much as people would like to be on top of it, with badge scanners and the latest technology to capture contact information, the reality is that you get a bunch of business cards from unqualified people who just stopped by your booth. And I just haven’t seen it pan out as a good use of an organization’s time.

In the past, tradeshows and events were one of the only ways for B2B marketers to reach a large pool of prospects in a direct fashion. And in the past, tradeshows and events were also one of the only ways for prospects to learn about the various products and services available to them.

But things are radically different today. These days, largely due to the Internet, there are far more efficient ways for B2B marketers and prospects to find one another and engage directly.

So while tradeshows and events are a sort of “sacred cow” in many B2B organizations, it’s clear that the dynamics are changing rapidly. After all, marketing teams are under ever-increasing pressure to demonstrate positive financial results. And more and more, B2B marketing teams are actually being held accountable for quarterly sales targets.

And when you’ve got a number to hit, spending six weeks and $50K for a fishbowl half-full of questionable business cards? Well, that might not be the best move….for your business…or your career.

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